With their incredible track records of extortion, bribery, cover-ups, and lies, one would assume that Papa Massata Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, would never work in athletics again. With the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding their lifetime bans, it is a beautiful thing to see that there is a body of governance of sorts that is willing to demonstrate that the swamp of athletics needs to be drained.

Inside the Games article

Papa Massata Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov will all remain banned for life from any involvement in athletics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed their appeals against the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Ethics Commission’s decision from January of last year.

All three filed appeals at CAS seeking the annulment of their life bans, imposed by the IAAF Ethics Commission which concluded that figures within the sport had been “guilty of blackmail” since 2011.

Diack was a marketing consultant to the IAAF and is the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack.

Balakhnichev is the former President of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) and was IAAF treasurer until 2015.

Alexei Melnikov is the former chief RusAF coach for long distance walkers and runners.

The appeals were consolidated and referred to the same panel of CAS arbitrators who concluded that on the evidence adduced, the charges against Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov were established beyond reasonable doubt and that the sanctions imposed should be upheld.

“The full award with grounds will be published as soon as possible,” a CAS statement added.

Former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dollé received a five-year ban following the world governing body’s Ethics Commission’s decision.

The quartet were charged in relation to payments totalling approximately £435,000 ($562,000/€475,000) made by Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova, the 2010 London Marathon winner and a three-time Chicago Marathon champion, in order to cover-up doping violations.

The RusAF had knowledge of Shobukhova’s suspicious biological passport readings in 2011 but “abnormalities” were not announced until three years later, the IAAF Ethics Commission reported.

Among events she is alleged to have competed at after suspicions were first raised and payments were taken was the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she failed to finish the marathon.

The IAAF has welcomed CAS’s ruling to dismiss the three appeals.

“I’d like to thank CAS for their hard work and diligence in assessing and upholding the IAAF Ethics Board’s decision,” its President Sebastian Coe said.

“Today’s ruling sends a clear message that anyone who attempts to corrupt our sport will be brought to justice.”

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